Location & Travel

This Pan-American Advanced Studies Institute, “The science of predicting and understanding tsunamis, storm surges, and tidal phenomena”, will be held January 2–13, 2013, at Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María (UTFSM), in Valparaiso, Chile.

Valparaíso is a port city, today a little run-down, but full of history and old charm.  Lonely Planet calls it the “most unique city in Chile”. It is a favored destination for artists and tourists looking for an authentic taste of Chile.

The city was declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO, due to its characteristic architecture and late 19th-century urban style.  With wonderful views of the bay, most of the city is hanging from steep hills, each with a unique personality.  One of the city attractions are the remaining city elevators that connect the thin, commercial city plain, with the mostly residential hills.

Google map with places of interest:  http://goo.gl/maps/45fw7


International flights arrive to Chile into Aeropuerto Arturo Merico Benitez in Santiago (airport code SCL), departing from several hubs in the US.  Direct flights arrive mainly from Atlanta (Delta), Miami, New York and Dallas (Lan, American).

Once arrived at the airport, if you wish to use public transportation, follow these instructions:

  1. Centropuerto has counters inside the customs area, where you need to buy your ticket (ask also if you can buy the ticket to Valparaíso here).  The bus goes to the main bus terminal in Santiago (“Metro Estación Los Héroes”), but you should get off at the first official stop:  Estación Pajaritos. Price for a one-way ticket is CLP$1600, or US$3.50 (really!) These buses run from 6 AM to 11:30 PM every 10 minutes Monday through Friday, and every 15 minutes on the weekends!
  2. At Estación Pajaritos, you will catch the bus for the Santiago-Valparaíso route.  The price is CLP$2200, or US$5.00 and the travel time 1h45min.  You can check the bus schedules in advance on the Tur Bus website.  We can tell you that these buses are comfortable, prompt, safe and the best way to travel between Santiago and Valparaíso (unless you are renting a car).

All NSF-funded travelers: Please hold on to your boarding passes, as we will require them when you submit your reimbursement claim.

Visa information

Citizens of the Mercosur countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay) only need their national ID cards to enter Chile.  Citizens of other Latin American countries need to have a valid passport, but no visa is required.

Citizens of the US do not need a visa, but will be required to pay a reciprocity fee of US$160 upon entry to the country; a receipt will be stapled to a visa page of your passport and will be valid for the life of the passport. Read more about this, and other information about Chile, on the US Department of State website and on the Wikipedia article on Chile’s visa policy.

Most citizens of European countries do not need a visa nor pay a reciprocity fee (same applies to Japan).

Medical insurance

Please find out if your medical insurance will cover you during your travel.  Ask your insurance provider if they will cover emergency hospital visits while abroad.  In many places in Chile, hospitals and doctors expect payment at the time of service.  If your health insurance will not cover you while traveling abroad, it is a very good idea to get supplementary travel insurance.


January is the beginning of summer vacations in Chile.  Expect daytime temperatures to be about 20-24C, mostly sunny, with an occasional foggy morning.  WARNING – insolation levels are quite high in Chile and you are strongly recommended to wear sun block at all times, even on cloudy days!

AC power plugs

Electricity in Chile is 220 Volts, and the plugs are the European style.

Other tips

  • Right-hand turns at red lights are prohibited, unless explicitly posted.
  • Taxis and public transportation are plentiful and inexpensive. Agree to a taxi fare before embarking.
  • Like in any big city, watch your belongings and beware pick-pockets.